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October 15th, 2008
Commissioners Court appoints Texas State alumnus as Justice of the Peace

The Hays County Commissioner’s Court approved the appointment of a retired Texas Ranger to become the next Justice of the Peace (JP) for Precinct 5. Tommy Ratliff will take office effective January 1, 2009. Current Justice of the Peace O. Lamont Ramage submitted his resignation letter September 3.In his resignation letter Ramage said he appreciates all the support he has received over the past 14 years as JP, and that his staff and co-workers have made it a great experience. “At the end of this year, I will complete 41 years of correctional work with federal, state and county governments, so I guess you could say I am somewhat tired,” wrote Ramage. “Therefore, at midnight on December 31, 2008, I will retire from my position as Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5, for Hays County, Texas.”

The Commissioners Court extended their gratitude for Ramage’s service and accepted his resignation. Ramage endorsed Ratliff to fill the vacancy. “I realize there will probably be several people requesting consideration for this position and I hope you will allow me to recommend someone you already know and that I believe will be a great addition to your justice court operation,” wrote Ramage. “[Ratliff] is well respected by all that know him and his hard work and integrity is above reproach. I hope you will meet and consider Mr. Ratliff for this position.”

Several officials present supported Ratliff’s nomination as JP including Sheriff Allen Bridges and Precinct 2 JP Beth Smith. “I can’t give anybody more of an endorsement than I can Tommy Ratliff,” said Bridges.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton recommended Ratliff to serve as Precinct 5 JP and he said Hays County Judge Liz Sumter is supportive of Ratliff’s nomination. The approval of the nomination passed unanimously.

Ratliff graduated from then Southwest Texas State University in 1975, majoring in Agricultural Business. He later worked as a highway patrolman for twelve years in several cities around Texas, until being promoted to Texas Ranger in 1987. Ratliff was assigned Caldwell, Blanco, and Hays Counties in 1997, which led to the opening of the first official DPS Texas Ranger Office in San Marcos. He retired in August of this year.

by: Andy Sevilla
News Section Editor

Tommy Ratliff addresses the court

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12 thoughts on “Commissioners Court appoints Texas State alumnus as Justice of the Peace

  1. Allen Bridges has served as Public Relations Officer for Austin PD and Hays County Sheriff’s Office. As Sheriff he has continued his practice of public relations and has never stepped up to fulfill the role of Sheriff. His lack of leadership is legendary. Most of the deputies I have talked to support his opponent Bill Huddleston for Sheriff. They are loyal to the man who has walked the talk and will be the best Sheriff for the Hays County of the future. Vote for leadership. Vote for Bill Huddleston November 4th!

  2. really, because all my friends at the sheriff’s office say that the department is very much supporting Sheriff Brgdes. Sounds like more lies from the huddleston camp.

  3. JD that’s because your friends know they will be fired if they speak out and then you tell Bridges they aren’t voting for him. It’s an “at will” agency so get real!
    Off the record most deputies families will tell you they are supporting Huddleston because he is the only candidate with command experience and has the respect of those in uniform. But since you know Bridges so well, tell us why he never rose above the rank of patrolman in 30 years with the Austin Police Department??? No leadership ability?

  4. Tell me why Huddleston was demoted and retired instead of excepting the reassignment??????? Poor work performance?????

  5. Ah… JD, still can’t answer the question on Bridges remaining a patrolman for 30 years with no promotion in APD??? tisk, tisk…just can’t handle the truth, huh?
    Perhaps that’s why you hide behind initials??? Tell you what, the library is open tomorrow and has plenty of dictionaries where you can look up the definition leadership—-the kind Huddleston has demonstrated under three prior Sheriff’s while Bridges was just a patrolman, always the rookie rank his whole career at APD!

  6. Ok, we have had this conversation before my name is JD I have gone by this for over 30 years since I was 6 years old. You know some people may not promote, but Bridges did RUN and was THE LEADER of the crime prevention and community relations division of the Austin PD and worked in and lead other units such as fugitive apprehension and others. Heaven forbid he leaves something he has enjoyed. If Huddleston is such a great leader, why did the memebers of his SWAT team write a complaint to the sheriff at the time and ask for him to stand down as the commander, why was moved from patrol supervisor to detective (a demotion in rank), and why was he demoted from the rank of detective. Sounds like great leadership to me, the kind of sheriff I want. Keep slinging your mud and dirt and ignore the facts. Allen may not have promoted to “grand commander” or whatever Huddleston is claiming, but at least he did go do in ranks during his career.

  7. Sheriff Bridges’ Career
    36 years of progressive promotion up the career ladder
    25 years with large agency, under multiple Chiefs of Police
    11 years with Hays County, under two Sheriffs
    No disciplinary transfers
    No demotions
    Elected Sheriff in 2006

    Dept. Training
    33 Deputies with MASTER PEACE OFFICER: The highest training certificate TECLEOSE issues
    34 Deputies with ADVANCED PEACE OFFICER
    Many Deputies receive 100 hours per year of training, mandated courses, specialized division
    courses, supervisory courses, and TECLEOSE Core courses

    Dept. Experience
    Some examples: 41 years, 36 years, 36 years, 28 years, 24 years, etc., many with 15-20 years.

    Experienced officers who have left
    Retired to accept Federal position
    Resigned to join his brother’s computer business
    Resigned to join the new Pct. 1 Constable
    Retired rather than accept reassignment
    Some other less experienced officers left for higher paying jobs

    Department Vacancies
    Vacancies were filled with the announcement by Commissioner’s Court of the new pay scale
    Officers from around the state, from as far as San Angelo came to fill the positions

    New Jail Facility
    Recognized the need for an expanded jail facility to keep pace with State Jail Standards
    went before Commissioner’s Court and requested the expansion which was agreed upon
    and several Architectural proposals are being considered. The proposed facility will allow
    for enough expansion to allow housing out of county prisoners for a fee. As Hays County’s Jail
    population increases, the new expansion will compensate for it.

    Vehicles
    Saved up to $4,000 per unit
    Decreased fuel usage- 20/26MPG VS 12/13
    Improved dependability of service

  8. Allen Bridges currently has over 36 years of law enforcement experience and holds a Master Peace Officer Certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. Today, he has over 2200 hours of law enforcement training. In 1972, he began his career in law enforcement with the Austin Police Department. He retired with 25 years of service at APD and immediately joined the Hays County Sheriff’s Office in August of 1997, serving as a crime prevention deputy. In January 1998, he became the Sheriff’s Office first Media Information Officer. In 1999 with his promotion to Sergeant, he supervised the Crime Prevention Team, DARE, Gang Unit, and the Media Information Unit. In August of 2005, the Commissioners Court with a unanimous vote appointed him Sheriff and he took office on September 1, 2005. In 2006 the people elected him to be Sheriff. He continues to lead the Sheriff’s Office of one of the fastest growing counties in the United States.

    Among his accomplishments:

    His work in crime prevention has earned him the Central Texas Crime Prevention Presidential Award four times. He developed, implemented, and coordinated the Texas RURAL CRIME WATCH program statewide

    Senior Citizen Services

    Sheriff Bridges coordinated the Travis and Hays County TRIAD/S.A.L.T. (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) Councils. This program works to reduce the criminal victimization of our senior citizens. He and his staff regularly hold meetings with seniors in the county.

    Sheriff Bridges developed the Sheriff’s Office AARP’s 55-Alive senior driving classes taught in both English and Spanish to enhance senior’s driving skills to maintain safe driving habits and keep their independence as long as possible.

    He has both hosted and lectured at the Texas Attorney Generals TRIAD Conferences for seniors.

    Inter-Agency Coordination

    Sheriff Bridges worked with United States Marshal’s office to join their Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, bringing worldwide resources to the Sheriff’s Office.

    Furthermore, Sheriff Bridges worked with area law enforcement agencies to establish the first “Combined Gang Task Force” to address gang issues in Hays County.

    He has worked to coordinate Sheriff’s Office and Office of Emergency Management efforts to better serve citizens of Hays County during emergencies.

    Serves on the Citizen Corps Council’s Board of Directors that coordinates the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The CERT team is trained to support Law Enforcement, EMS, and firefighters, in emergency situations of all types, as they demonstrated during the Hurricane relief efforts in Austin and Hays County.

    Realizing the need to address Homeland Security, Sheriff Bridges assigned a command staff member to coordinate Homeland Security with the Office of Emergency Management.

    Sheriff Bridges established an internship with Gary Job Corps to provide students with an opportunity to learn vehicle maintenance and clerical skills.

    School Safety

    Sheriff Bridges continues to work with school officials, juvenile authorities, security experts, citizens, and crime prevention deputies to develop prevention programs in county schools and the Sheriff’s Office. He has also worked with Hays Consolidated Independent School District and Dripping Springs Independent School District by serving on the H.C.I.S.D. Crisis Management Team, and the D.S.I.S.D. Safe and Drug-Free School Advisory Committee. In 2007 he started the “School Watch” program that addresses school violence and makes everyone from students to adults aware of how to prevent it.

    Meeting the needs of Hays County

    Sheriff Allen Bridges personally oversees the Crime Prevention Team Programs:

    * School Watch Program
    * McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog visits schools as requested by school faculty
    * Child I.D. (fingerprinting)- is offered to parents as a means of identifying lost or missing children
    * Bike Safety Presentations and Bike Safety Rodeos are held for children
    * Stranger Danger presentations are available for children
    * Junior Deputy Academy is a five-day program to make kids aware of what emergency responders responsibilities are and to establish role models

    Citizen Sheriff’s Academy

    Sheriff Bridges developed and supervised this proactive 12-week class that offers participants a working knowledge of what the Sheriff’s Office does. Completion of the Academy qualifies participants to join the Alumni Association that supports projects of the Sheriff’s Office.

  9. Hey Ricky.

    Sheriff Bridges’ Career
    36 years of progressive promotion up the career ladder
    25 years with large agency, under multiple Chiefs of Police
    11 years with Hays County, under two Sheriffs
    No disciplinary transfers

    Yea and there’s lots of inmates with those same credentials…doesn’t make them qualified either. VOTE HUDDLESTON for real leadership.

  10. HA HA HA… I just read the “11 years with Hays County, Under two Sheriffs” part. Well, 11 years back from 2008 is 1997. Don Montague was elected first in 1996. No other Sheriff has been in office since Montague except for Bridges. Is he counting as serving under himself? Can he not remember? Hmmmm….. As far as “JD’s Friends”, they must be the high ranking buddy “placements” that are satisfied. From what I have heard, Bridges does not have wide ranging support from within. Truth be told, he is not trusted by many, nay maybe a majority, of his troops. There seems to be a trend that was noted as well. Not only does he NOT SHOW UP at public forums where he can be questioned in the presence of his opponent, the officers at the sheriffs office can count on less than one hand how many times Allen Bridges has been at meetings with his deputies since he has taken the helm. That is no sign of effective leadership in my book.

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